Chin up, the Great American Eclipse is today!

17 hours 28 minutes ago

For the first time in 99 years, today people across the continental US will be able to see a total solar eclipse. The eclipse will be partially visible across a large swath of the United States, while those in the 70 mile wide “path of totality” stretching from Oregon to South Carolina will be able to see the moon completely cover the sun. Whether it’s been on your calendar for years or you’ve been in the dark until now...we hope our special content (and tips!) give you a sliver of insight.

Today’s Great American Eclipse Doodle introduces you to some very playful alien creatures who seem to be having quite a bit of fun today. Doodle artist Gerben Steenks considered many ideas—from anthropomorphic cameras to nocturnal bats and owls—to introduce our eclipse event to users. But he finally settled on an astronomy-loving space traveler who delights in guiding Earthlings in their understanding of stellar events.

To learn more about solar eclipse science, click through the Doodle to Google Search and get some fun facts courtesy of our out-of-this-world friends. You can learn about a crowd-sourced photo project to capture images of the eclipse as it traverses North America, and even follow NASA’s livestreaming video of the event — which, if you don’t have eclipse glasses or a pinhole camera, is a good way to watch the magic and avoid damaging your eyes.

Before, during, and after the eclipse, NASA will be sharing information with posts right in Search results. So if your neck is tired staring up at the sky, just tilt it back down, take off your eclipse glasses, and pull out your phone for some updates.

Now in the words of Bonnie Tyler, “turnaround, bright eyes”...it’s time!

Becoming a Freelance Developer and Taxes

17 hours 43 minutes ago

It’s been a while since my last reader question post.  That was the one where I confusingly announced on a Tuesday that I’d be doing reader question Mondays.  Well, today I start a new streak of doing reader question posts on Mondays.  My apologies for dropping the ball on that, but I took on a […]

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Erik Dietrich

Video previews help you find what you’re looking for even faster

3 days ago

We’re always looking for ways to help you find information faster and easier. That’s why when you look up “NBA draft recap,” for example, you’ve always seen short text snippets for each result. These text snippets help give you a snapshot of the site's content, making it easier to decide whether you’d like to click through to read more. For videos, we have traditionally shown a static image thumbnail in search results. But as more information moves to video, we’re working on new ways to give you useful glimpses, helping you quickly find what you’re looking for across video, too.

Starting today and rolling out more widely next week, on the Google app for Android and Chrome on Android, when video results show up in the video carousel, just like text snippets for text results, you’ll see video previews. So whether you’re trying to learn some new salsa dance steps or you’re stuck on the side of the road trying to change a flat tire, and need a video that uses the tools you have on hand, you now have access to video previews directly in search results, giving you a better idea of what you’re about to watch before you tap.

By default, previews only play when you’re on a wi-fi connection. To enable previews on mobile networks or to opt out of this feature, visit the settings menu within the Google app or settings for Android Chrome.

A few months back, we introduced video versions of Featured Snippets for quick answers to queries like “how to kickflip”. Video previews is the next step in helping you find information faster. More to come -- but for now, Search on!

Turn around, bright eyes… and experience the total solar eclipse with Google

3 days 5 hours ago

Move over, blue moon—there’s a more rare astronomical event in town. For the first time since 1979, a total eclipse of the sun is coming to the continental United States this Monday, August 21. Starting on the west coast around 9 a.m., the moon will begin to block the face of the sun. Not long later, the moon will completely cover the sun, leaving only the bright corona visible for as long as two minutes and 40 seconds.

Whether you’re traveling to see the “totality,” catching a glimpse of the partial eclipse from another location, or simply curious, Google can help you learn more about this unique moment. Grab your solar glasses and peep what we’ve got in store:

Live from the solar eclipse

Even if you’re not in the path of the solar eclipse you can tune to YouTube to watch the magic unfold live as it crosses over the U.S. Catch livestreams from NASA, The Weather Channel, Exploratorium, Discovery's Science Channel, and Univision.

Sun, moon and Google Earth

With a new Voyager story in Google Earth, you can learn more about the science behind the eclipse. You can also see what it will look like where you live.

Futures made of virtual totality

If you’re not in 70 mile wide path of totality, fret not. Travel to Mt. Jefferson, OR in Google Earth VR (on Rift and Vive) and view it in virtual reality. From the menu, select Total Solar Eclipse to get a view from the center of the action.

Lights, camera, astronomical action

We’re working with UC Berkeley, other partners and volunteer photographers to capture images of the sun’s corona at the moment of totality for use in scientific research. We’re also using our technology to algorithmically align these images into the Eclipse Megamovie, a continuous view of the eclipse. Read about some of the people involved in this project, and stay tuned for the complete Megamovie soon after the eclipse on https://eclipsemega.movie.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Android O!

People worldwide have explained solar eclipses through the lens of myth and legend for centuries. This year, there’s a new supernatural being whose identity will be revealed as the sun and the moon do their celestial dance. Get ready to meet Android O at android.com/o.

While a solar eclipse is a pretty rare astrological event, don’t worry it’s not too early to start planning for the next one passing over the United States on October 14, 2023. You can always set a Google Calendar reminder to make sure you don’t forget.

Why Production Monitoring Can Come Too Late

3 days 17 hours ago

Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the Stackify blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, have a look around at how their offering can help you hunt down issues from development to production. I’ve spent a number of years, now, writing software.  At the risk of […]

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Erik Dietrich

[Free download] Weekly review template

3 days 23 hours ago
Conducting regular reviews is a useful way to reflect on your progress, celebrate your achievements, and keep yourself on-track towards long-term goals. But reviews can ...
Belle B. Cooper

All your questions answered on Google Maps and Search

5 days 5 hours ago

When deciding where to go and what to do, we often ask ourselves lots of questions before making a decision. Soon, you'll be able to ask those questions, get the answers you need, and even answer other people’s questions about places on Google Maps for Android and mobile Search.

To ask or answer a question—or read the existing questions and answers about a place—simply search for the location on Google Maps or Search and open the local business listing. Then scroll down to the “Question & answers” section where you can add a question, answer someone else’s question, or upvote informative ones by tapping the thumbs up icon. Upvoted questions and answers will appear toward the top of the section so that the most helpful content is most accessible.

To make sure “Questions & answers” contains the most accurate and useful local info possible, business owners can add frequently asked questions and answers as well. In addition, when you ask a question about a place, we notify the business owner and other in-the-know users to see if they have knowledgeable answers to contribute. When your question is answered, we notify you too.

No matter where you’re headed or what you’re looking to do, Google Maps and Search highlights the information you need to make quick decisions and discover the world around you.

*This feature is rolling out to Google Maps and mobile Search users worldwide. 

Achoo! Watch out for seasonal sniffles with pollen forecasts on Google

5 days 11 hours ago

While most of you out there are enjoying the dog days of summer, some are bracing themselves for the fall allergy season that’s right around the corner. In fact, one in five Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Across the U.S., we see that search interest for allergies spikes each year in April and May and then again in September. To help you get ahead of your seasonal allergies symptoms, now when you search for pollen or allergy information on Google, you’ll see useful at-a-glance details on pollen levels in your area.

To make the most up-to-date and accurate information available, we’ve worked with The Weather Channel to integrate their pollen index and forecast data information directly into Google. To see more pollen and allergy details, you can tap the link within the pollen experience.

In addition, when the pollen count in your area is particularly high, you can receive reminders in the Google app. To opt in to these notifications, just search for pollen levels, pollen forecast or a similar query on Google, then tap “turn on” when prompted.

With this pollen info, you can better understand and prepare your seasonal allergy symptoms. Stop sneezing and go out and enjoy those fall colors!

Transitioning from Manual to Automated Code Review

5 days 18 hours ago

Editorial note: I originally wrote this post for the SubMain blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, have a look at CodeIt.Right. I can almost sense the indignation from some of you.  You read the title and then began to seethe a little.  Then you clicked the link […]

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Erik Dietrich

Chillax, it’s National Relaxation Day!

6 days 6 hours ago

Even though the calendar says it’s only Tuesday, we say it’s time to kick back and relax. After all, National Relaxation Day comes but once a year! And if you’re like the 44% of Americans who feel more stressed than they did five years ago, you may be in need of a break. To help you unwind, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to calm down, free up your mind, and release the stress.

Starting off in Google Search, we have some go-to guides to help you chill out. First, try typing “breathing exercises” into Google, and you’ll see a nice guided exercise right at the top of search results. Cue exhale...and inhale! For the established (or aspiring) yogis out there, you may also want to check out some of the yoga positions that are just a tap away. And don’t worry, if you’re not up for the Chakrasana, Bālāsana still counts. Namaste.

More of a video viewer? You’re not alone. Guided meditation videos on YouTube are on the rise, with an 84% increase in views since last year. Some popular picks include Blissful Deep Relaxation by The Honest Guys and Guided Meditation for Sleep... Floating Amongst the Stars by Jason Stephenson. Oooohhhmmmmm.

If you want to pamper yourself on National Relaxation Day, head over to Google Maps. You can now book appointments at spas and salons across the U.S. To get started, do a quick look for a nearby salon, barbershop or spa and look for the “book” button on the business listing. You can also visit the Reserve with Google site to browse recommendations or find serene spots you never knew existed.

This is just a sample of the serenity that awaits. And if you’re stuck at  your computer, here’s a pro tip: take a breather with the Mindful Break Chrome extension that gives you tips and guides you through some short breathing exercises. Ready, set, chillax!  

Things Everyone Forgets Before Committing Code

6 days 17 hours ago

Editorial note: I originally wrote this post for the NDepend blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, take a look around at some of the other posts as well. Committing code involves, in a dramatic sense, two universes colliding.  Firstly, you have the universe of your own work […]

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Erik Dietrich

Type less, talk more

1 week ago

Using your voice to dictate a message can be up to three times faster than typing. With this in mind, today we’re bringing voice typing (aka talking to your phone instead of typing) to 30 new languages and locales around the world, covering more than a billion people. With this update, Google’s speech recognition supports 119 language varieties, in Gboard on Android, Voice Search and more. And now in the U.S. in English, you can use use voice dictation to express yourself with emoji.

Bringing voice input to more global users

To honor languages around the world, speech recognition will support ancient languages such as Georgian, which has an alphabet that dates back to the 10th century. We’re also adding Swahili and Amharic, two of Africa's largest languages, as well as many Indian languages on our quest to make the internet more inclusive.

For your reference, here's the full list of newly supported languages and locales:

  • Amharic (Ethiopia)
  • Armenian (Armenia)
  • Azerbaijani (Azerbaijan)
  • Bengali (Bangladesh, India)
  • English (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania)
  • Georgian (Georgia)
  • Gujarati (India)
  • Javanese (Indonesia)
  • Kannada (India)
  • Khmer (Cambodia)
  • Lao (Laos)
  • Latvian (Latvia)
  • Malayalam (India)
  • Marathi (India)
  • Nepali (Nepal)
  • Sinhala (Sri Lanka)
  • Sundanese (Indonesia)
  • Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya)
  • Tamil (India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia)
  • Telugu (India)
  • Urdu (Pakistan, India)

To incorporate 30 new language varieties, we worked with native speakers to collect speech samples, asking them to read common phrases. This process trained our machine learning models to understand the sounds and words of the new languages and to improve their accuracy when exposed to more examples over time.

These new languages are also available starting today in Cloud Speech API and will soon be available across other Google apps and products, including the Translate app. To enable Voice Typing in your keyboard, install Gboard from the Play Store and pick your language (press the G in the suggestion strip and select the Settings wheel). Then just tap the microphone to start speaking. To enable Voice Search, open the Google app and pick your language in the Voice settings menu (tap the top-left menu and go to Settings, then pick Voice and select your language).

Speak your emoji

In addition to drawing or searching for your favorite emoji, in English in the U.S. you can now say something like “winky face emoji” to express yourself  . Or even “Colbert emoji” to your friends when the occasion calls. We will be bringing this to more languages soon!

It all started with a party: the story behind today’s Hip Hop Doodle

1 week 3 days ago

On August 11, 1973, there was a party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx—and four decades later, we’re still talking about it. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 44th anniversary of that party, which is widely credited as the birth of the Hip Hop movement.

To learn more about the Doodle and the movement that inspired it, the Keyword team chatted with three of the Googlers behind the Doodle—Kevin Burke, Ryan Germick and Perla Campos. We also talked with two legendary hip hop pioneers who served as close partners in the project: Fab 5 Freddy, former host of “Yo! MTV Raps” and narrator of the Doodle, and Cey Adams, visual artist and founding creative director of Def Jam records, who designed the Doodle logo image that you see on the homepage today. Here’s what they had to say.

Keyword: How did you come up with the idea for this Doodle?

Kevin: I’m a huge Hip Hop fan. Growing up outside New Orleans, it was a part of my DNA—performing Hip Hop in my high school band, adding Hip Hop to my college radio station’s rotation, and working on the set of Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” music video in my first job out of college. Hip Hop has been a constant thread through my life and I wanted to bring my love of it to a Doodle. I developed the concept for interactive turntables, showed it to my manager Ryan (also a fan of Hip Hop), and he lost it. He said, “let’s make it tomorrow!”

OK, so people were into the idea. But Hip Hop is such a big topic. How did you decide what to focus on?

Perla: From the beginning, we were thinking big. I mean, Hip Hop touches so many parts of culture but a lot of people don’t know much about its origins. So, we anchored the Doodle to the birth of Hip Hop, and wanted to celebrate the people who pioneered the movement. We hope to give them the voice and the recognition they deserve, which is what Doodles are all about—shining light on times of history that maybe you didn’t know about.

Kevin: It all started with DJ Kool Herc, an 18-year old Jamaican DJ in the Bronx. He and his sister threw a party in August 1973, and when he DJ’d the party, he used two turntables to extend the instrumental break in the music where people did their craziest dance moves (that’s actually how “break” dancing got its name!). And the Hip Hop movement was born.

Ryan: With each Doodle, we try to touch a different part of the human experience. But we hadn’t yet touched on a massive part of U.S. and global culture—Hip Hop. And by bringing in elements like “Achievements,” we can also make it about the real people behind the Hip Hop movement.

Speaking of the real people … Fab and Cey, how did you feel when you first heard about this project?

Fab: It was a full circle experience for me. I first went online in 1994—I even remember doing a segment on “Yo! MTV Raps” about email. And going back to when I first got on the internet, I was looking for likeminded people who were part of the culture. And now, Hip Hop is on one of the biggest digital platforms out there, in a way that acknowledges and recognizes what this culture is, and what it continues to be. It’s pretty amazing.

Cey: Everybody on this project was so excited to be a part of it, which made me excited too. I could add an authentic point of view and represent all the people who helped start the movement, even the ones who are no longer here. The project is rooted in honoring the past.

Perla learning how to breakdance thanks to HUSH tours Early sketch by guest artist Cey Adams Doodle team with Fab 5 Freddy Doodle team with Cey Adams The Doodle team at 1520 Sedgwick Ave, the site of DJ Kool Herc’s epic party Early concept sketches for Fab 5 Freddy animation Early Doodle team Google logo exploration Cey Adams

The Doodle pays homage to many early pioneers of Hip Hop. How did you decide who to include?

Perla: We started with a big list of people and narrowed it down based on a ton of research and conversations with close partners versed in all things Hip Hop—like Lyor Cohen, current head of YouTube music and a legend in the music industry who has signed some of the greatest Hip Hop artists ever. We also wanted to make sure we represented the diversity in Hip Hop and featured the women who were a huge part of the early days but often aren’t talked about.

Kevin: Part of the Doodle is a “record crate” that has legendary samples you can listen to. You’ve probably heard these samples in a Jay-Z or Kanye West song but few people know who actually created them. Perla and I were in tears one day because we added a bunch of fresh beats from our childhood—the samples behind the Puff Daddy, Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. songs we loved growing up. We were totally going down memory lane.

How does this compare to other Doodles?

Perla: We’ve never done a Doodle like this before, both because of the technical challenges and the many voices and collaborators we wanted to include. It was both unnerving and exciting to tackle this because so many people have been touched by Hip Hop in some way—so how do you do it justice?

Ryan: There’s a lot that went into figuring out what bitrate of audio you needed to scratch records, how to sync up the beats correctly, and the complexities around animations were firsts for us. We’re always trying to one-up ourselves, to exceed the expectations of people who love our Doodles. This one represented all the things Doodles are good at: storytelling, interactivity and education.

How did you get into Hip Hop? What’s your earliest memory of Hip Hop?

Kevin: I got a lot of exposure to Hip Hop growing up in Louisiana. I was this artist kid in a suburban conservative area—I identified with the spirit, angst and celebratory energy of Hip Hop. I’m also a music trivia nerd—when I was a kid, my dad would quiz me whenever a song came on the radio. I’ve tried to work that music trivia into this Doodle at every chance.

Ryan: Hip Hop was part of the fabric of my upbringing. I grew up in suburban Indiana—in an environment dramatically different from the Bronx where Hip Hop was born—but as soon as we got cable, I started watching “Yo! MTV Raps.” One of the most exciting things about working on this Doodle was that we got to collaborate with people like Fab 5 Freddy and Prince Paul, one of my all-time favorite hip hop producers.

Cey: One of my earliest memories is when I went to the Jamaica Armory to see Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. I realized that Hip Hop belonged to us—it was music for myself and my friends, something that nobody could take away from us.

Fab: The guys who wanted to be DJs and rappers had this sense of wonder and energy about them. They were like engineers in the way they worked with their sound systems—the cables, the speakers, the amps. Those DJs were a bunch of smart cats figuring out something that was advanced and revolutionary during that time. I felt comfortable around them during a time when there was rough stuff going on in the streets.

How do you view the evolution of Hip Hop over the last 44 years? Where is it going?

Fab: The essence of Hip Hop culture at its base is like an algorithm—it can be done in any language and by any nationality out there, and when done right it grows exponentially. From the very beginnings in the 70s, this culture was generated by those who had very little, and took those bare essentials to say: “I’m here, I matter.” And that has reverberated continuously for decades. So I don’t like to think of old school vs. new school, I’m a “now school” person. Hip Hop marches on—it will always reinvent itself.

Cey, you’ve worked as an artist for decades, across a huge variety of mediums. What was it like to design something for the Google homepage?

Cey: Graffiti has always been associated with vandalism to some degree—in the early days, I had to tell people that my art was different from people who were just tagging. But we’re capital “A” artists. All we’re doing is using a spray can instead of a paintbrush. And now Google is putting this piece of art on the homepage, which will be seen by people all over the world. That’s really exciting to me.

What do you hope the audience gets from this Doodle?

Perla: My biggest aspiration for the Doodle is that people see themselves in it, that there’s something that speaks to and represents them on the Google homepage. Hip Hop originated as a way for young people to focus on something positive in the midst of the negative forces around them, so I want people to feel that same hope and positivity from this Doodle.

Ryan: I hope people can cut through some of the negative stereotypes associated with Hip Hop —it’s not without its shortcomings but it’s such an important part of our culture. The Bronx was not an easy place to grow up in the 70’s, but such a vibrant culture was born out of it.

Cey: I want people to get a Hip Hop education, and to understand that the music, the art, the dance, the fashion, it’s all part of a collective lifestyle of people who wanted to change their circumstances. And it will always be there—and will continue to spread around the world—because there’s always some young person who wants to change their circumstances.

Fab: For those who have have grown up with this, they’re gonna be amazed to see such a huge part of their lives acknowledged. I want people to see that Hip Hop affects everybody, not just youth culture. It continues to be important, relevant and alive. And it’s happening in every corner of the globe.

Kevin: I love that we’re celebrating a party—people dancing and performing, there’s something really positive about that.

Static Analysis Issue Management Gets a Boost

1 week 3 days ago

Editorial note: I originally wrote this post for the NDepend blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, have a look at the features in NDepend’s latest version. Years ago, I led a team of software developers.  We owned an eclectic portfolio of software real estate.  It included some Winforms, […]

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Erik Dietrich

How to Evaluate Software Quality from the Outside In

1 week 4 days ago

Editorial note: I originally wrote this post for the Stackify blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, take a look at Prefix and Retrace, for all of your prod support needs. In a sense, application code serves as the great organizational equalizer.  Large or small, complex or simple, […]

The post How to Evaluate Software Quality from the Outside In appeared first on DaedTech.

  
Erik Dietrich